Good Night Brian. Steven Manchester. The Story Plant. January 2013. 308 pp. e-book. ISBN #: 9781611880625.
“Momma” is really Brian Mauretti’s grandmother and Joan is his mother. They have faced the normal ups and downs of life but now are facing a devastating disease in Brian. As a baby, Brian had difficulty handling formula and was put on a special formula that turned out to have devastating effects on certain babies. The product had not been properly tested and not examined by the FDA, with the result that the lack of certain ingredients left children with the inability to speak, walk, and do all the normal things babies grow into with time and love.
But Momma, an elderly tough grandmother with huge faith, insists that doctors know nothing and one must have faith that Brian will be and do things that the doctors insist are impossible.
The rest of the novel is exciting, tender, gritty, and determined plans set by Momma to make those “hallmarks” of childhood happen, albeit at a different time from other children’s developmental stages. The reader celebrates every uncertain but strengthening step after step after step. One wonders where Momma finds the strength to stay on course. Brian’s siblings, especially Ryan, and cousins are part of the program and are always learning lessons from Mamma about believing and doing the right thing. It must be said that these lessons are told realistically and without sounding soppy or dogmatic.
Brian’s parents have a harder time believing, and this tale also concerns their painful conflicts and celebrations of each act by Brian that defies the predictions of the medical world. Their part in the story is so very real and understandable to the reader. Not everyone has superhuman faith and that’s okay as well in this author’s depiction of this average but unique family.
Although some readers don’t like overly emotional stories, this is an emotional story that conveys mostly grace, dignity, strength and truly unconditional love! Wonderful fiction written by a great storyteller!